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Training on a home flight simulator. . . (Accident report)

Discussion in 'Student Pilot and Further Learning' started by Phil Perry, May 6, 2013.

  1. Phil Perry

    Phil Perry Well-Known Member

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    I have condensed this a bit, as it's a four page, highly detailed report in the crash comic. . . . because the bloke was seriously injured.

    From the the latest AAIB bulletin, ( read the whole thing on the web if you so desire ) a young man who had some experience flying weightshift ( trike) style aircraft, bought a Team Minimax ( single seat shoulder wing homebuilt microlight - 2 stroke powered ) which has three axis standard stick and rudder controls, some are fitted with pitch trim,. . .some are not.

    He was strongly advised by friends and fellow pilots to take some "Differences" training with an instructor on some kind of aircraft which has similar controls and responses, this he elected not to do. (Differences Training is mandatory anyway in the UK when swopping control systems, and five hours is the recommended minimum expsoure to the new system prior to being signed off as safe. . . )

    His flight history mentioned a "Small" amount of glider flying, but this was not expanded upon in the report, ie, if it was significant, then another reason for the crash may have been an issue. . . The report stated that He was obviously confident that he could handle this ( Very benign ) machine without any problems because he had, . . . SPENT A LOT OF TIME ON A THREE AXIS FLIGHT SIMULATION PROGRAMME ON HIS HOME PC" The particular software was not detailed in the report.

    The A.A.I.B DO go into a LOT of background descriptive in these reports, so If you really want to read the history of the flight, then the CAA website is the place to go.

    Suffice to say here that the aircraft entered an erect spin, from which the pilot was evidently, due to inexperience of type, control system, training, or otherwise unable to recover, and struck the ground at a near vertical attitude resulting in total destruction of the airframe and serious injuries to the occupant.

    There was mention of the fact that the aircraft had recently been either re-built or in some way modified, the aileron circuit was mentioned specifically here. . . so that,. . . ONLY an approved test pilot could have legally flown it prior to it being decreed safe to fly. Perhaps an experienced pilot may well have noticed if there was something amiss with the control system responses, ? we'll never know as the machine was pretty well trashed in the impact. Whether this had any bearing on the piot's apparent loss of control is obviously conjecture, but it makes one wonder a little if a properly trained person would have been able to recover the situation ?

    I realise that simulation is a LARGE part of flight training nowadays, I have sat in several extremely realistic"REAL WORLD" training simulators, costing nearly as much as some aircraft, but exactly how useful would this type of training be if it's conducted on your home PC I wonder. . . .

    I'm not being in any way judgmental here,. . . .What does the team think ?
     
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  2. flyerme

    flyerme Well-Known Member

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    IMO, firstly I would not recommend learning by flight sim at home as there is no feel (A key factor for piloting an aircraft).
    A home P.C sim can help with basics but as for the real thing NO comparison.
    With NO Stick pressure you can pick up bad habbits like over controlling for one...,
    Also with No real Danger one can get pretty confidant quickly and the mistakes go un noticed...

    But on the other hand I bet the old school pilots back in the day sure wished they had a flight sim..!!Believe me....Jack Flyer envies these home PC flight sims. Better than just jumping in fresh and going for it..well ???? the outcome looks like it could be the same....:plane:

    Like you stated ,,,,,,now days (here too )one requires at least 5hrs real flight training..
    .
     
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  3. Bandit12

    Bandit12 Well-Known Member

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    When I was first learning to fly, I used to go home after each lesson and refly it as near as I could remember on Microsoft Flight Sim 95. Effects of controls, straight and level etc etc. Even these days I sometimes pull out a more modern version to practice some things, particlarly instrument flight. However, it never replaces the real thing and really is just a bit of educational fun.

    A friend of mine built a B737 sim cockpit in his garage and that is a different experience altogether. Still no "feel" but visually it looks fantastic and we "flew" IFR across the USA, complete with traffic and live ATC, as well as did the Sydney to Melbourne route a few times. Good fun, great experience, just don't get too caught up in thinking that it is real.
     
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  4. rankamateur

    rankamateur Well-Known Member

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    Home flight sim (FSX Gold) with forcefeedback microsoft joystick giving stick pressure but no rudder peddles, is so unrealistic that since I did my training I have only turned it on about two times, giving no satisfaction at all. What it did give me was an over emphasis on aileron in my turns and no emphasis on balance in the turns which was a very bad habit my instructor had to flog out of me in my early training. What home simulators can do is keep you interested until you can afford to train, so in they way they have a purpose.
     
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  5. mAgNeToDrOp

    mAgNeToDrOp Active Member

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    The only real benefit you will get out of the simulator (e.g. FSX) is help getting your procedures burned to memory, e.g. circuit procedures, forced landings (emergency procedures). It even helps to practise your NAV procedures on the sim as you can dial in the wind etc and if you have ORBX scenery for example the landmarks are all there an you'll find you can fly the NAVs pretty spot on to your plan. There is no realism to actually flying but I find it's way more fun than practicing your NAV on your armchair when your learning. Throw in diversions etc and you get to practice recalculating your heading.

    Oh it also helps you learn to get used to the Ozrunways interface as you can hook it up to your flight Sim and play with all the features so you don't have to sit there and fiddle with it too much in when you're actually flying.
     
  6. rankamateur

    rankamateur Well-Known Member

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    None of my navs went to plan, wind out by upto 180 degrees from forcast, so sim training for navs doesn't prepare you for a real world nav, it is a protected reality.
     
  7. mAgNeToDrOp

    mAgNeToDrOp Active Member

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    Yeah thats why I said use it to learn the procedures, checks, not reality
     
  8. Howard Hughes

    Howard Hughes Moderator

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    Home simulators are great for improving your IFR scan rate! :spot on:
     
  9. biggles5128

    biggles5128 Active Member

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    They are a good tool to shoot a few approaches, throw in some wind and do an NDB approach (Thats if anyone still does them) or practice the missed approach but for VFR flying, I think just a toy.
     
  10. DGL Fox

    DGL Fox Aircraft Hangars

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    Yes well I have been flying IL2 Forgotten Battles and Microsoft Flight Sims since 2002, I have logged thousands of hours I would say, I have a force feed back joystick but no rudder pedals, I used the twisting action on the joystick for that.
    Now that I have been training for real I too have had to be flogged around the head by my instructor to use the rudder for balanced turns, I put this lack of rudder use to my years of feet up on the table flying with the rudder on the joy stick (don't know if I told you that Neil)

    IMO flight sims are good to get the basic idea in flying and landing but there was one thing I found was really good was for flying to sorties just using the compass and visual reference points, I have not started my cross country endorsment yet but I think that the hours that I have done over the years in flight sims will be help.

    Anyhow that is the way I got over the flying bug when I had not enough money to do the real thing and I must say I have met a lot of good blokes over the years flying IL2 as I was in a squad and we used to meet at real airshows and Flight Sim expo's and the like, Good fun. :cheezy grin:

    David
     
  11. facthunter

    facthunter Well-Known Member

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    Simulators (of all kinds ) have their place but they (in varying degrees) are NOT the aeroplane. Really expensive ones come awfully close. Sim instructors usually fly the sim better than line pilots and the more actual flying you have been doing ( I mean" hands on") the more you will miss the "cues" the motion of the real plane gives you. If you fly by numbers you mightn't notice much difference.
    One of the risks is that you can "trick' the sim with little inputs, like all video games. This does not work with the plane
     
  12. sfGnome

    sfGnome Active Member

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    I was flying with my adult son this morning and he asked about which control did what, and eventually the conversation drifted to the need to keep your head out of the cockpit - the point being that you can't feel the beginning of a drift into a spiral dive. I got him to close his eyes and tell me when when we deviated . He didn't pick it at all, and I got him to open up again when we were nose down and 30 deg bank - came as a bit of a shock! So, the question is, is the problem with flight sims that they have no feel, or that they trim so nicely and fly so stably?
     
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  13. facthunter

    facthunter Well-Known Member

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    Control feel is not difficult to simulate. The accelerations that parts of the body feel in flight are hard to replicate. The bodies senses don't notice a slow change, and will interpret the stopping of a particular motion as doing that motion in the other direction. Eyesight is a very primary and powerful input. In the absence of visual cues the bodies sensory "aids" often mislead us into feeling that we are doing something we are not .Nev
     
  14. Howard Hughes

    Howard Hughes Moderator

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    Here's one to try, tell him to close his eyes and roll very gently in to a 720 degree turn, finishing at about 30 degrees AOB. After the two turns you feel like you are straight and level, but can feel the G-forces, messes with peoples heads!! :spot on:
     
  15. old man emu

    old man emu Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure that you didn't enter the winds 180 degrees out on the wind slide of your whizz wheel?:yikes:

    OME
     
  16. M61A1

    M61A1 Well-Known Member

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    I agree completely in regard to the lack of feel, both in the controls and seat of pants. One of the force feed back sticks I tried was just weird, when flying a sim drifter (ants) the force feedback made the control wobble side to side while taxiing, when in reality it bounces fore and aft. So I came to the conclusion the usual "gamer" controls were useless.
    I ended up ditching the force feedback, and extended a normal joystick, and put a set of pedals on it. I then set all the control setting to "most realistic" and "high" sensitivity. (There is a pic of my home made setup in the sim section of this site)
    I found after that that the drifter seemed fairly normal on take off and stall/incipient spin, and recovered similarly to normal. With those settings, the cub was a complete bitch to master, and so helped me to cope with taking off in my 95.10, inasmuch as I could feel a significant difference (in regard my feet) in my handling of the aircraft, after playing with the sim.
    Perhaps the best part of the sim is also the worst......knowing you're not gonna die when you botch it. Sometimes it helps to know you will if you don't get it right.
    I have read about an incident after involving a military sim, where an aircraft was destroyed after repeatedly doing the same thing in a sim without consequence, then doing the same in a real aircraft.
     
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  17. Phil Perry

    Phil Perry Well-Known Member

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    Just in case of any misunderstanding here FLYER,. . .I meant 5 hours training in control "DIFFERENCES", assuming the pilot was already familiar / qualified with either Trike or Three axis controls, I didn't mean to infer that 5 hours real flight training would make someone SAFE,. . . just that this is a CAA "Reccommended" minimum before sign off. . . not from ab-initio, I dunno whether ANYBODY is that good ! ! ! ! ( Yes I KNOW. . . . Orville and Wilbur Wright didn't have the luxury of a SIM nor INSTRUCTOR , . . . ! )

    Phil
     
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  18. Phil Perry

    Phil Perry Well-Known Member

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    My Friend *** ****** ( swore me to secrecy ) has built a VERY good sim in his large suburban garden shed, and very few people in our club get invited to see it. . . due to his panicking aabout security. One half is a Boeing 737, and the other side is a stick and rudder setup. ( I will TRY to get him to allow a photograph to upload to the site ! ! ! ) All nicely wired up and functional with all the bells and whistles. This took him 11 years to complete after his retirement.

    The only thing it lacks is some hydraulic rams underneath to provide movement. This would have cost too much, and been a bit difficult to conceal ( his words ) otherwise the daft bugger would probably have done it anyway ! He is a realy nice bloke and regularly lends me his taildragger to keep up my hours, as the microlight time in any control system doesn't count in the UK for upkeep of a G.A. licence.

    However. . . . .the point of this post is that he regards the SIM as a TOY. He plays with it to pass the time when he is bereft of something else to do. He says it has no practical value OTHER THAN . . .and I think HH alluded to this, . . . he says that it IS very useful for practicing IFR, holding over an NDB, VOR tracking, and ILS approach practice, thereby helping to preclude "Old man brain fade" when taking his Instrument Rating revalidation tests. . . personally, I don't know why he bothers, as he doesn't fly IFR any more,. . . . just a few taildraggers ! Well, I guess it's HIS pension money so he can spend it as he likes !

    Phil
     
  19. Phil Perry

    Phil Perry Well-Known Member

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    Artificial "Feel" control feedback. . . or "Q" feel as it used to be called years ago,. . .was introduced so that pilots wouldn't over-control large passenger carrying aircraft fitted with powerful hydraulic control systems. Without this simulated "Resistance" It would be easy to overcontrol in pitch or roll axes, and it "appeared" to give the pilot enough feedback to simulate the weight of the aircraft, which would be felt in a simple cable and pulley control circuit, where of course otherwise the hydraulics will do exactly what the control column orders, possibly overstressing the aircraft in some way. ( A retired airline jockey once told me that a 737 has a max "G" tolerance of 1.8,. . . and if you inadvertantly exceed a 45 degree AOB, then you are a test pilot and the aircraft will "Probably" not recover to normal flight. . . ! )

    A guy I taught to fly many years ago is now an Airbus A320 captain, ( following his airline company selling off all their DC10s ) and tells me that things on the "Fly by wire" passenger appliances are now completely different, there is NO manual control at all apparently ( I dunno I've never flown an Airbus ) all the pilot has is SIMULATED manual control, to make him feel he is actually doing something, even to the point, . . .and Howard may be able to comment on this one,. . .that where us small aircraft pilots would apply pitch up to flare for landing, . . . the Airbus control software will actually pitch down slightly, requiring the pilot to apply a "Pitch Up" input to counteract this. . . . If he doesn't,. . . then the system will immediately step in and do the job automatically. The only thing they DON'T do automatically is keep the darned thing straight on the runway,. . . PILOTS have to do this with feet / Tiller controls. That is, until DGPS improves somewhat OR buried sensors in the tarmac take over, talk to the aircraft computers and remove that problem as well ! ! ! ( He didn't say how well the software copes with ridiculously strong approach crosswinds. . . . A La Youtube " Interesting Landings" . . . . )
    I'm sure that a fully automated airliner isn't that far away . . . . whether a "Safety Pilot" would be employed for the first few flights to allay passenger fears is a moot point. . . . I'm certain that it WILL happen somewhere not far down the line, and then. . . we won't NEED PILOTS . . . .NOR flying Instructors any more,. . . and they'll all have to start getting jobs fitting swimming pools ( or heating- - -in the UK ! ! ! ! ) Any problems would be sorted by a pilot on the ground several thousand miles distant, just like the UAV system. . . .

    Of course,. . . there may just be a few blokes still around flying toy aeroplanes for fun. . . .?


    Phil
     
  20. rankamateur

    rankamateur Well-Known Member

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    Quite sure thanks! Expected tailwind, found wind nearly on the nose. Just took a lot longer on that leg.
     

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